People close to Montreal Canadiens restricted free agent Jesperi Kotkaniemi predicted that the forward had played his last game for the club following a healthy scratch in the Stanley Cup Final, according to TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger.
After sitting out the first game of the Habs' 2021 playoff run, Kotkaniemi had played 19 consecutive contests before being scratched for the final two games of the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The 21-year-old signed a one-year, $6.1 million offer sheet with the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, giving the Canadiens seven days to match the offer.
TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reports that the Canes attempted to trade for Kotkaniemi over the past few days, but a deal did not transpire.
The offer sheet comes two years after the the Canadiens signed Hurricanes' forward Sebastian Aho to a five-year, $42.27 million offer sheet, which was eventually matched by Canes' general manager Don Waddell.
Kotkaniemi scored five goals and added 15 assists in 56 games with the Canadiens last season. He added five goals and three assists in 19 playoff games.